May 21, 2018

Arguing Against Church-State Activism

Church of St Mary Magdalene, Caldecote
Church of St Mary Magdalene, Caldecote (Photo credit: Peter aka anemoneprojectors - camera busted!)
Not surprisingly, most of what I write here at Atheist Revolution reflects my opinion on the subjects I address. That is how blogs generally work, after all. And yet, I do sometimes try my hand at writing posts from perspectives other than my own or that take positions with which I disagree.

Why would I do such a thing? I find that writing something from a perspective other than my own sometimes helps me to understand the subject on a deeper level and check (through the comments my readers leave) whether I have done service to the perspective or missed something deemed critical by those who hold the perspective. In this way, I think there may be some benefit for those advocating a position to try their hand at arguing against the position. If nothing else, such an exercise ought to help one make sure that one understand the other side and is not merely responding to an inaccurate stereotype of the other side.

With this in mind, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the most common arguments made by atheists/secularists/humanists against taking action to address church-state violations (i.e., secular activism). Many of the posts I have written here or read on other atheist blogs seeking to inspire members atheists, secularists, freethinkers, and/or humanists to take action on specific church-state violation are met with opposition from at least a few self-identified atheists/secularists/freethinkers/humanists. This leads me to believe that there are arguments from within our own communities against church-state activism. Since I frequently advocate for such activism, it might be informative to examine the other side.

Here's how you can help. Take a moment to think about the last call to action on a church-state issue you saw. Maybe it was a national issue like the mention of gods on U.S. currency, in our pledge of allegiance, or in federal buildings. Or maybe it was a state or local issue like a state governor using his official Twitter account to share verses from the Christian bible, another Ten Commandments monument going up somewhere, a state inserting references to gods in their state seal, or a city being prompted by complaints to remove crosses from public property. It could be anything that you remember. Now see if you can remember any of the arguments against taking the suggested action you encountered and share them in the comments.

I have some general ideas, but I'd like to hear from you to make sure I don't miss any of the big ones. I think it might be useful to take a look at some of the most common arguments against taking action on church-state issues.